Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm getting rather bored with this whole election business. We tune into the debates only to hear our esteemed presidential candidates haggling over whose contributors and supporters are more vile - racist, terrorist, and the like. If you're lucky enough to live in Virginia or another closely-contested state, your cable t.v. is inundated with political trash-talking (thank goodness for DVR!). And the best thing about it all is that you can go weeks without hearing actual policy proposals. Who needs real meat when you've got all the glorious fluff like Joe the Plumber and the cost of Sarah Palin's wardrobe?

On the plus side, it's much easier to hide my choice for president from my students if I don't even know who I prefer. I don't hate either candidate, which is a massive improvement from 2oo4, but I'm also not head-over-heels in love with either of them. In my search for easy to digest party platforms for my kids to read, I came across this lovely little gem:

"Government Spending


Democrats make no excuses about massive government spending. For the government to provide a happy, healthy, shameless, and even exciting society, for everyone, regardless of their personal means, requires a massive amount of cash from the citizens as well as all you can borrow. Further, to make sure that no citizen gets into trouble and is in bed each night at a reasonable hour, a huge government staff is a necessity. This, in turn, requires every dime the public can spare and just a bit more.


Republicans, in their hearts, and especially at campaign time, really would like to cut back on government spending -- especially such luxuries as the social, environmental, and health programs. But there are necessities that it would be irresponsible to avoid. Such things as National Defense, which requires a military budget far greater than any we have had in any major war, can no more be cut back than you can cut back on helping the folks back home that need a superhighway to the new park out in the country. These are essential expenditures unlike the "feel good" stuff of the Democrats. When Iraq threatens our shores by such hostile actions as flying one of their planes over the southern half of their country, we better be ready for action. "

-Leon Felkins
American Politics Journal

Read more: How to Tell a Democrat From a Republican (Really, do it, it's great.)

Hopefully sometime in the next 12 days I can sort through all the policies/drama and actually figure out who I want to vote for.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My new motto

"Come What May, and Love it"

Read it. That's all I'm going to say.


Let the festivities begin.

It's October, which means it is officially my favorite season. The leaves on the GW Parkway are finally starting to change colors, the weather is finally turning cooler (in theory) and I now have an excuse to bundle up on the couch with a cozy blanket and a book. Autumn also brings two fabulous holidays - Thanksgiving and ...drumroll please... my birthday (don't worry, you haven't missed it yet). The one holiday, however, that I have never really understood is Halloween.

I mean, I understand the history of it. It started with the pagan Celtic holiday of Samhain, when the ghosts of the dead rose from their graves and the people believed that their presence made it easier for the Druid priests to predict the future (sounds a little Ghostbuster-ish to me...). Then a few hundred years later, a Catholic pope adopted the holiday, but tweaked it to honor dead saints and martyrs, and called it "All Saints Day" or "All-hallows". Hence, "All Hallows E'en" or "Halloween". You see where we're going with this.

That's not the part I don't get. I've just never understood why we enjoy trying to freak ourselves out. We pay to go into haunted houses, hoping that they'll be scary enough to make us want to leave. We use it as an excuse to eat so much junk food that it makes us sick (fun!), and we stress for weeks over what costume to wear. This is probably my biggest challenge, and why I'm not looking forward to October 31.

Past years. You see the problem.

Italy. 2005.
The idea: Wear as much black as possible and pretend it's a costume.
Verdict: Bad idea.

2006. The Wizard of Oz
Verdict: More creative, a lot of work, and still somewhat ridiculous

2007. Last minute costume from Jill's stash.

Verdict: Take a good look, because this picture will probably be coming down. :)

Help! I seriously need Halloween ideas.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Love To See the Temple...

Most of you know of my obsession with Italy. A lot of you were probably there with me. And the rest of you may laugh and say that I wasn't there long enough to have such an obsession. Let's be honest though, anyone who has spent any amount of time in Italy can relate.

Right before I moved to Rome (about 3 years ago), the Roma stake was created. Then just after I left Torino, the Alessandria Stake was formed, and most recently the Verona Stake. In addition to the previously existing stakes and districts, Italy had more than fulfilled the membership requirements for a temple. Rumors had been flying for years about a temple and speculation on when it would actually be built. Saturday morning, President Monson laid all those rumors ro rest and announced a new temple to be built in Rome, Italy. I screamed. Follow the progress of the Rome temple.

President Monson also announced new temples in Cordoba, Argentina; Philadelphia, PA; Kansas City area, MO and Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Define the word "late"

So I've failed. It's been almost more than four months since I've blogged, which is really unfortunate because tucked inside those months was a kickin' summer break with lots of great story material. Sometime I'll actually get around to posting pictures, but you'll have to create your own captions.

My newest motivation for blogging is the realization that I talk about work too much. I'm hoping that if I write it, maybe I won't be so compelled to complain and/or tell stories about my kids. No promises, though.


12:30 pm. The bell rings, marking the beginning of my 5th period class. About half the class walks in a minute or two late, which in Ellington terms, is still early. Class starts, we discuss last night's (awful!) presidential debate and our thought-provoking quote for the day ("Illegal immigration has always been a problem in America; just ask any Native American"). The students had just finished a practice quiz on European geography when the door opens and my favorite (cough) student walks in.

Me: "Why are you 30 minutes late for class?"

Student: "I'm not late!"

Me: "Class starts at 12:30, and it is now 1:00. By definition, you are late."

Student: "But, I was downstairs with that guy. I didn't bring a note from him, but he'll write me an excuse note."

Me: "What were you doing downstairs? And what guy?"

Student: "The security guard guy. I went to the bathroom, he saw me go in there!"

Me: "So you've been in the bathroom for the past half hour?", generously thinking maybe he had been sick or something.

Student: "No!! I just went to the bathroom and then came out. That's why I'm late. He saw me go in there."

Me (by now, very confused/annoyed/amused): "Let me see if I can get this straight. The security guard is going to write you a note excusing you from class because you went to the bathroom? Which, incidentally, you should have done at lunch?"

Student: "But lunch is for eating!!!! You can't mark me late!"

Why do I even respond? Honestly, pure entertainment value. His excuses got worse and worse as the conversation continued. And he just can't figure out why he's failing all his classes. Why they blame teachers for poor performance is beyond me.